Losing a Scholarship, Gaining a Wife

Name: Rachel Baumgardner
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: rachelbomber

Q: What event has happened in your life that changed the course of your life and why?

There have been a number of events in my life that have shaped my journey, but if someone told me that becoming disqualified for the Daniels Fund (a scholarship that would have paid for my entire bachelors) would lead me to finding my best friend and soulmate, I would have laughed. This fund is meant for low-income families, and after becoming a finalist for the academic scholarship, I learned that the average income my dad brought in for 2010 and 2011 was just high enough to disqualify me. As I was preparing to go to college, I was looking at a number of public schools and one private school (GCU in Phoenix). GCU was my first choice, as it would allow me to explore moving out of my home state, but it was not too far away. The Daniels Fund could only be used at public schools, and therefore when I was disqualified, I made the decision to go to GCU.

When I was preparing to start my first semester, I chose my roommate based on a survey we both filled out that indicated that we love Harry Potter. This roommate met my future wife first (also through their love of The Boy Who Lived), and eventually introduced us. I was still deep in the closet at that time, and my future partner was still recovering from a turbulent past relationship. We slowly became friends and started dating about one year into our friendship. We have now been married for five years and have the most amazing daughter in the whole world!

When I learned that I had been disqualified from the Daniels Fund running, I was crushed. I knew how important a scholarship like that was to me and my family. But if I had obtained that scholarship, I would have stayed in Colorado, or gone to Missouri or Washington. I never would have had a chance to meet my Arizonan wife, and I honestly don’t know if I would have ever come out as queer. All that to say, thank God for that disqualification!

Have a story you want to share? Click here.